China’s Ma Long has secured his first men’s singles title at the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) World Championships after beating compatriot Fang Bo in the final.
The world number one justified his standing at home in Suzhou with a 11-7, 7-11, 11-4, 11-8, 11-13, 11-4 win, having earlier beaten another compatriot, Fan Zhendong, in the semi-finals.
The first two games were shared as Ma and Fang traded blows in a heavyweight forehand top spin contest, but it was the former who took the third to move into the lead.
Success in the fourth game doubled the three-time singles bronze medallist’s advantage and although Fang managed to save a match point and reduce the deficit with a win in the fifth, Ma swiftly sealed victory in the sixth.
Meanwhile in the women’s doubles final, China’s Liu Shiwen and Zhu Yuling came out on top after winning the final in seven games against compatriots Ding Ning and Li Xiaoxia.
Ding had her right ankle strapped after falling in her women’s singles final victory against Liu yesterday, but it was she and partner Li who held a one game advantage after the first three.
The pair went on to establish a 7-5 lead in the fourth game, before a time-out called by Liu and Zhu turned the tide and saw them go on to restore parity.
The next two games were shared to set up a deciding seventh, where third seeds Liu and Zhu wrapped up an 8-11, 11-8, 3-11, 11-8, 11-13, 11-8, 11-8 triumph.
“At the start we were not the favourites but with Ding Ning being injured it made a difference,” Liu said.
Ding has now finished runner-up in the women’s doubles on four consecutive occasions, but her partner was full of praise for her efforts nonetheless.
“I must give great credit to Ding Ning for even playing in the final when she had an injury, it was a really brave effort," said Li, 27, who indicated that retirement from competitive play may not be too far away.
“My time in the Chinese national team is coming to a close.
“Now my task is the help the young players and to enjoy the opportunities which may come my way.”
May 2015: Ding overcomes injury to secure thrilling women's singles title at ITTF World Championships
May 2015: China and South Korea combine to claim historic mixed doubles victory at ITTF World Championships
April 2015: Olympic medallists Ovtcharov and Fukuhara suffer surprise exits at World Table Tennis Championships
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